June 18, 2020
On Thursday, 18 June 2020, the Coordinator of the MRU-CSO Platform and two other members of the Platform participated in the World Bank Inspection Panel’s workshop. The Inspection Panel is “an independent complaints mechanism for people who believe they have been, or are likely to be, harmed by a World Bank–funded project.” Those on the virtual outreach via Zoom were:
- Dr Michel YOBOUE of the Research and Advocacy Group for Extractive Industries (GRPIE) of Côte d’Ivoire and
- Mr. Abu A. Brima of the Network Movement for Justice and Development (NMJD) of Sierra Leone.
The workshop was conducted by the Chairperson of the panel, Ms. Imrana Jalal, assisted by two of the Panel members. While presenting, Imrana said the Panel’s current mandate covers only compliance review. She said request for review can be made by:
- Local community
- At least two people who share interests and concerns and are affected by project activities,
- A local organization or other representative on behalf of affected people.
- Foreign organization on behalf of affected people, in exceptional circumstances, if local representation is not available.
However, before complaining to the Inspection Panel, the project-level Grievance Redress Mechanism must have been utilized and not satisfied. In such a case, contact would have been made with the World Bank Country Office or Bank Management. “A Request should describe steps taken or efforts made to bring the issue to the attention of Bank staff (if possible, with dates, people contacted, and copies of the correspondence with the Bank), and a statement explaining why, in the Requesters’ view, the Bank’s response was inadequate.
Abu Brima was concerned about the independence of the Panel, since they work for the Bank. Imrana clarified that the Panel is composed of three members from different countries, selected for their multifaceted experience in development and their independence and integrity. Each member serves a nonrenewable five-year term. They are recruited by the Bank’s Board, not the Management, therefore the Panel reports to the Board, with no chance to examine its findings. To prevent retaliatory risk, the Panel keeps the identities of requesters confidential if requested to do so.
Several case studies of World Bank-funded projects were presented from Kenya, Uganda and DRC. In each of the cases, the complaints ranged from issues of livelihood restoration measures; harm caused by the construction of Dam reservoir, resulting in the partial flooding; Teenage pregnancies, harassment, increase of sex workers, spread of STIs; Inadequate resettlement practices; and use of violence against the community by contractor’s security forces, including taking quarry materials with no payment.
See links below for your Information:
- Kenya Electricity Expansion Project
- Uganda kalagala project
- Uganda Transportation Project
- DRC Road Project
- Insights from the Kalagala biodiversity offset associated with the Bujagali power project in Uganda
The Coordinator of the MRU Platform requested that the workshop be conducted for more members of the Platform. The Chairperson of the Panel said they would be pleased to do additional workshops for our members and that we should let them know when we want to proceed. They would prefer smaller groups of 3 to 4 persons at a time.
Please send me names and email contacts of people in your organizations that you would like to go through the session. It is important for more people to have the awareness/knowledge.
A brief evaluation questionnaire about the virtual workshop was responded to by the participants and returned. Thanks.
Peter Quaqua/Coordinator/MRU-CSO Platform